The idea behind "HE/DE la guía a la ciudad amueblada" started at the end of 2011, with a simple observation: Spanish city streets are always full of abandoned furniture, even in the city center. I was a student at that time, and I was looking for an occasion to develop a social innovation through Information and Communication Technologies. For me, an Italian designer living in Spain, the fact that people in Spain are so used to throw away furniture in the streets really was an unusual habit, but at the meantime I was fascinated by it.
Some of people recollect and refurbish furniture as a hobby, some others do it as a way of gaining money. These people not only have found a creative way of surviving during the deep economic and social crisis that hit the Country, but they are also cleaning Spanish city street from bulky wastes. An alternative economy is taking its first steps, but not without some embarrassment of the poor. HE/DE recognizes the value of this practice and tries to give it more dignity, providing a multimedia network and a highly interactive platforms, through which the community can share, collect, and refurbish furniture abandoned every day on Spanish city streets as a fresh and innovative form of sustainable livelihood, and not only as a way of subsistence of the poor.
"HE/DE la guía a la ciudad amueblada" relies on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which the community can share, co-create, and discuss user-generated content. HE/DE features a mobile application for iPhone and Android, and a responsive website suitable to work on every device and every screen size.
Users can access information regarding abandoned furniture in the street, which is loaded on-site directly by users, using the HECHOS and DESECHOS sections.
What does desecho mean? DESECHOS are all the pieces of furniture that have been abandoned near public disposal containers in the streets, even in the city center. A large amount of these pieces of furniture are still in good condition, and with a coat of paint they could become very unique and creative designer items. Each DESECHO page includes a short description, photographs, and the selected object’s GeoTag. This information helps users find the location-specific information of the item they are interested in. What does hecho mean? HECHOS are all the workshops, shops, cultural centers, etc., involved in creative recovery of furniture collected from the streets of Spanish cities. Each HECHO page includes a short description, a photograph, and a GeoTag of the concerned place. This information will help users to find the location-specific information of the cultural place they are interested in. RECOLECTOR URBANOS (urban collectors) are able to explore the HECHO and DESECHO pages through geolocated maps and lists. The whole territory is also explorable through the smartphone’s Augmented Reality, and the content of HE/DE can be shared on the leading Social Networks.
HE/DE’s website also features a TRANSFORMACIÓN CREATIVA section. In this specific area, users may insert a tutorial of every desecho they collected from the streets of Spanish cities thanks to the guide, explain how they creatively and successfully restored these pieces of furniture and sell them to other users.
After winning the 2013 edition of the @Diversity Award, an EU funded competition searching for innovative ideas for the cultural and creative sectors in Europe, HE/DE is currently looking for socially conscious team members who are willing to contribute to the project, and sponsors/investors who believe in social innovation and enterprise as a tool for positive change. The world is social now, and the good habits HE/DE promotes can easily spread and become social, among with the natural imposition of a new cultural model of reference. The success (even if in many ways undeclared) the practice of collecting furniture from the streets already has in Spain is giving hope to the belief that a positive outcome lies ahead.